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[kur-chif, -cheef] /ˈkɜr tʃɪf, -tʃif/
a woman's square scarf worn as a covering for the head or sometimes the shoulders.
Origin of kerchief
1250-1300; Middle English kerchef, syncopated variant of keverchef < Old French cuevrechef literally, (it) covers (the) head. See cover, chief
Related forms
kerchiefed, kerchieft, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for kerchief
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Tucked in the soft folds of her kerchief was one of the roses that afternoon.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • When he held out the kerchief to her, their hands, by chance, touched for a moment.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • "That goes very well with the initial on the kerchief," said Parson Jones.

  • It was Mukhorty, and not only Mukhorty, but the sledge with the shafts and the kerchief.

    Master and Man Leo Tolstoy
  • Take your kerchief, Kenneth, and pinion his wrists behind him.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
  • She removed the kerchief from her head, and began to fan herself.

    Sielanka: An Idyll Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • Here is a kerchief, press it on the wound to prevent the blood flowing.

    Debts of Honor Maurus Jkai
  • She tied a kerchief about her eyes; then, feeling for the block, she said, What shall I do; where is it?

    The Reign of Mary Tudor W. Llewelyn Williams.
  • She had removed her damaged straw headgear, but still wore her kerchief.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb
British Dictionary definitions for kerchief


a piece of cloth worn tied over the head or around the neck
Derived Forms
kerchiefed, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French cuevrechef, from covrir to cover + chef head; see chief
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kerchief

early 14c., curchef, earlier kovrechief (early 13c.), from Anglo-French courchief, Old French couvrechief, literally "cover head," from couvrir "to cover" (see cover) + chief "head" (see chief).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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